Attribution of freedom in a persuasive communication situation

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John H. Harvey
Sandra De Mott
Lesly Murray
Amy Yasuna
Cite this article:  Harvey, J., De Mott, S., Murray, L., & Yasuna, A. (1975). Attribution of freedom in a persuasive communication situation. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 3(1), 27-36.


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An  experiment  was  conducted  to  investigate  variables  which  affect  a communicator’s attribution of freedom to a communicatee. A communicator delivered a communication to a communicatee who reacted either favorably or unfavorably. Further, the communicator expected to have to deliver a subsequent communication either to the same communicatee or to a different communicatee. As predicted, greater freedom was attributed to the communicatee (1) when the reaction to the communication was favorable than when it was unfavorable, and (2) when a subsequent communication was to be directed toward the same communicatee than when it was to be directed toward a different communicatee. These findings were discussed in terms of a person’s need for compliance and the role of the attribution of freedom in serving this need. Evidence was also provided about the relationship between the attribution of freedom and liking.

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